Thursday, March 11, 2010

An Apple a Day...

...keeps the doctor away! I think almost everyone is familiar with that saying, and at least here in the US, even the youngest of school-age children is familiar with the legendary man we know as Johnny Appleseed. Born John Chapman in Leominster, MA on September 26, 1774, this young man ventured west in 1797, and planted his first apple nursery near what is now Warren Pennsylvania.

He would go on to plant, and later sell, many apple nurseries throughout Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois - always managing to stay one step ahead of the pioneers, having 2-3 year old apple trees ready to sell to them when they arrived. By 1806, he had earned his nickname and was beginning to earn his legendary status through the tales of his exploits which he freely shared with any settler who was willing to give him a meal and a place to sleep in exchange for apples, an apple tree or news that he had picked up on his travels.

Johnny was a bit of an eccentric man. He never married, preferred to sleep outdoors, was a vegetarian, and was always barefoot - even in the cold snowy winter weather. He befriended many Indians as well as being a bit of a preacher man, although his preachings were about the need for mankind to be in harmony with nature. He was known for his kindness to animals, and there are a number of stories about him showing mercy to even such creatures as yellow-jackets and rattlesnakes.

By the 1830s he had a chain of apple nurseries reaching from western Pennsylvania, through central Ohio, and into Indiana and had an estate that included around 1200 acres of prime real estate. On March 11, 1845, at the age of 70, Johnny Appleseed fell seriously ill for what was said to be the first time in his life, dying of pneumonia while visiting a friend in Fort Wayne, IN.

In honor of Johnny Appleseed Day, I set out in search of some apple themed items on Etsy to share with you today. I hope you enjoy my selections!

By far one of the cutest items I found is this ADORABLE hand knit Johnny Appleseed Sweater from amerinalevin - perfect for your little one! The front side features a design of Johnny Appleseed planting an apple tree and the back shows the fully grown tree, full of fruit, with a darling deer standing next to it. Simply beautiful, IMHO!


This beautiful photo of an apple orchard - Orchard in Bloom from ApollosonAcres - was taken near Lodi, OH. I wonder if perhaps these might be trees that came from seeds first planted by Johnny Appleseed!?! Probably not, but it's very likely that they are descendants of the trees he planted!
I couldn't escape writing this post without at least one selection of the real thing - oh my god, do these look yummy! nikid is offering a mix of 12 Luscious Apple Pops - Mini Caramel and Belgian Chocolate Covered Apples - Garnished with Your Choice of Topping...let's see, that's how many days you can keep the dr away???

By the way, did you know that apples were actually not grown for eating until the 1900's? So, what were they grown for, you ask? Well, actually, for making hard cider - the alcholic drink of choice in the frontier days. Hard cider was safer, tastier, and easier to make than corn liquor although it was about half the strength of wine. Applejack, a distilled apple liquor was a little stronger at about 66 proof. I prefer my apple cider unfermented or undistilled, thank you!

Hope you had a chance to have an apple today in honor of Johnny Appleseed! Happy Thursday!

3 comments:

NoviceLife said...

Thank you so much for featuring my photograph! It is an orchard that my husband and I run on our property and I bet some of the trees are descendents! We are having a hard time indentifying some of the varieties!!!

nikid said...

Thank You very much for featuring my apples! It was a wonderful post!!

amarinalevin said...

Thank you for featuring my sweater! Let's bring on spring and lovely flowering apple trees, soon!

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